GEORGE TOWN: An Umno assemblyman is concerned about the proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project near Teluk Kumbar, saying the area should be turned into a marine park instead.
Pulau Betong assemblyman Datuk Dr Muhamad Farid Saad said as a Penangite, he would have gazetted more than 2,000ha in the southern coast for such purpose if given the power.
“Such a move will benefit the many generations to come and save natural treasure from human greed. If the ecosystem and marine life is destroyed, it would result in food source being affected.
“We should not harm nature as it has a way of reacting and making our lives difficult,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
Dr Muhamad Farid said various environmental NGOs had expressed concern over the project as well, fearing it would destroy the marine life in the reclaimed area as well as threaten the neighbouring ecosystem.
“Fishermen strongly oppose the project as their livelihood is at stake,” he said.
He urged state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow to write to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, requesting for a meet-up to explain the details of the planned project.
It was reported that Dr Wan Junaidi had said the proposed PSR might change the continental shelf of Penang and encroach into international waters.
He said the continental shelf allowed under the current law was three nautical miles (5.5km) from the shore, but if the proposed project is reclaimed between 3km and 4km, the state’s continental shelf would change.
He said it means “pushing” the continental shelf further into the sea, and that could be encroaching into international waters, possibly bringing in problems with a neighbouring country.
A continental shelf is the sloping undersea landmass between a continent and the ocean. It extends from a continent, resulting in an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea.
Chow refuted the statement, claiming the planned PSR and Penang island are located far from the international border with Indonesia.
He said the proposed project is located at a very shallow area of less than 3.5m chart datum in depth on the continental shelf.
The PSR is a massive plan to reclaim three islands totalling 1,800ha off the southern coast of Penang.
The success of the Penang Transport Masterplan, which is the state government’s multi-billion ringgit public transport project involving light rail transit, monorail, cable cars and water taxis, depends on funding from property development on the islands.
The environmental impact assessment (EIA) of PSR was recently completed and is awaiting federal approval.
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